tv After Words with Seymour Hersh CSPAN August 27, 2016 3:18am-4:22am EDT
going on 25 years, starting with your first book. and two more books after that and a lot of your "new yorker" pieces. >> guest: thank you. >> caller: i will get patty hearst book. was living in the bay area at the time and going to college so the memories are vivid. 20 years later i found myself living in brentwood across from nicole when the killings occurred so i watch the trial avidly. within a couple of week is read a piece of yours in the "the new yorker" saying the defense was going to target a cop named mark furman. and sure enough, that's how the case unfolded, and when they came up with those tapes, i thought, my word, that just kind of blows him out of the water completely. when the case was over, i thought, if there's any one person you could attribute the loss would be mark fuhrman. how he has been rehabilitated, fellow who you might at best describe as a racist perjury cop
is now an author, shows up on television. i just don't understand how people can think that trial was wrongly decided are embracing this clown who did more to sabotage it than anybody. >> guest: well, i think you make an interesting point, and i think it is worth remembering where he is now, a prominent analyst. it's fox. fox news. it is a conservative news jutlet. he is a -- outlet. he is a figure who has become a prominent defender of police against "black lives matter" accusations. he is a prominent -- someone who is part of the backlash against the movement that johnny cochran reflected. so, he has become a conservative hero of sorts, not because he
lied -- i think people sort of gloss over that -- but because he is seen as someone who was the adversary of the people who were playing the race card during the o.j. simpson case. i think his political place in american life as reflected in this role at fox, is what is worth remembering about fuhrman now. >> host: "american heiress" you say rarely is the -- my question to you if you could have asked her one question -- yao sid she did not cooperate with the book but a lot of the material you could go to through -- what would you have asked her. >> guest: well, i don't have the arrogance to think one question could turn the tables on -- i talk about one incident in particular, actually. i would ask her to explain one thing in particular, because i think it is emblematic of how
much she did in fact switch sides to join the sla and that was on may 16, 1974. they had just robbed the bank in san francisco and they all moved to los angeles, the nine of them. they were going stir crazy in the little house, and three of them decided to good to shopping. patricia and bill and emily harris. bill harris goes into mel's sporting goods and decided to shoplift. the clerk was an aspiring police officer and he knew that the crime of shoplifting did not actually take place until the person left the store. so he waited until bill left the store and then he tackled him on the street. patricia hearst is across the street in a van, by herself, with the key in the ignition. what does she do? does she walk away? does she drive away? does she ask for help? no. she sees bill harris being
tackled so she picks up a machine gun and fires across the street, amazingly not hitting anyone but trying to free bill. she does that, thinks it over, then gets another gun, and shoots up the street some more. again, miraculously not hurting anyone, but successfully freeing bill from the clutches of his pursuer and bill and emily harris get in the car and the three of them head off. so when people say, oh, patricia was forced to do everything, oh, patricia was coerce evidence, was a victim forever, think about the incident in mel's sporting goods and i would want her to explain how her behavior at mel's, shooting up the street in order to free her comrade, bill harris -- how is that consistent with someone who is not actually a member of the sla? >> host: amerigo is next from las vegas.
>> caller: hi, mr. toobin. back to monica lewinski and president clinton. president clinton did not ask monica to lie in her deposition. he asked her to lie in a different position. thank you. >> host: we'll let it go at that. don't forget. >> guest: don't forget to tippure waitress. >> host: ronald, randall, washington go ahead, please. >> caller: yes, jeffrey, as i -- i'm a -- interested in psychology and psychiatry and i recently read that there is a syndrome now about people like patty hearst and i might answer your reasons for why she was the way she was during that sporting
goods example that you gave. >> host: are you talking about the stockholm -- >> guest: stock hole syndrome. >> caller: yes. >> guest: let me tell you something about stockholm syndrome. the reason it's called "stockholm" syndrome is there was a robbery of a back in stockholm, sweden in november of 1973. so it was just a few months before patricia was kidnapped and it had not really seeped into popular culture yet, and during her trial, it was actually not mentioned. it's only subsequently as it's become famous that stockholm syndrome has been associated with her case, the idea is that people who are held captive can come to identify with their captors and support their captors even though they are technically prisoners.
it's important to remember about stockholm syndrome and brainwashing. these are journalistic terms. they are not medical terms. and i try to stay away from that sort of jargon in the book and concentrate instead on the actual facts of what went on. at patricia's trial there were three psychiatrists who testified for the prosecution, three psychiatrists who testified for the defense and they disagreed. i think with all due respect to psychiatry, it's an imperfect science, and i think it is a more helpful way to view the hearst case -- and what i try to do in "american heiress," is to view it through the facts of the case rather than through what i regard mostly as psycho basketball. >> host: january 29, 199, a picture of patty hearst with a
t-shirt, pardon me, of she her sentence was commuted and you make a point that reagan played a part. >> guest: by the time of the pardon it was quite clear that ronald reagan was likely to be jimmy carter's opponent in the 1980 election. the reagan -- ronald reagan was a friend of the hearst family. he had appointed katherine hearst, patricia's measure to be on the board of region inside california, a big supporter of governor reagan's, and the fact that reagan and john wayne, the very conservative actor, supported the pardon, gave jimmy carter political cover to issue the commutation he did because he knew his main opponent would not criticize him, and carter, who was a religious man and someone who believes in the
concept of redemption, was interested in this case and was sympathetic to patricia, and -- but also carter knew that by granting the pardon, the commutation, he was not exposing himself to criticism from reagan because reagan supported it as well. >> host: i asked you this not because it's out network but in researching the justice you traveled to west lafayette, indiana. >> guest: i did. it was great. >> host: what what did you find and what did you learn. >> let me just sort of back up. i'll tell you, when i started working on "the nine," one thing i was worried about how am i going to get enough information about what the justices are like behind the scenes? i knew i could talk to some of them but not all of them. and the richness of the story was going to be about what went on behind the scenes, not what went on in public. and i always remember something that my editor said to me.
he says you'll be amazed at how much is out there in plain view. on any subject, but the supreme court in particular. so i started with -- this book came out in 2007. so i'm talking about the mid-2000s when i was reporting and it i started using the internet, which was of course not as ubiquitous as it is now, and i saw that the justices had appeared on c-span with some regularity. so this was the days before c-span had put all it archives on the web. just the web didn't work that way in those days. but i called and your colleagues told me that if i went to west lafayette, indiana, where the c-span archives were, could look at the justices' appearance to my heart's content.
why west lafayette, indiana? your former -- your founder and leader, brian lamb, was a proud graduate of purdue university which is in west lafayette. that led to the archives being there. so i went to the archives and i remember -- i don't know if this is still the case but they had this sort of cool automated system, forgiving dvds, a machine that pulled them off the -- like a kind of storage system and i remember kind of -- >> host: it's still there. >> guest: is that right? and i got dvds that were incredibly useful because the justices -- they're human beings. when they talk off the cuff, they sometimes say things that, on reflect, is a little more -- reflection, is it a little more candid than they might expect and it was going to west lafayette was a gold mine. by the time i got write "the oath" c-span put almost all the
archives online so i was denied the great pleasure of going back to west lafayette, and -- but i still used c-span archives a lot. >> host: you're welcome anytime. let's go to susan in cambridge, massachusetts. >> caller: hi. in responding to the many viewers who have called in saying, well, why is the supreme court decisions -- why isn't it just what is right and wrong and why are they're always split -- has done an admirable job in explaining that politics is necessarily a part of this. but i think you've gone too far in that my law professor, my mentor in law school, robert cutler, told me many, many years ago, that a lot of american law could be explained by the principles of the railroad always wins. for many years of our existence. but that's not the interesting question. and it doesn't make it law.
what distinguishes law from politics is that they have to give reasons why they railroad wins. once you give reasons to either you stand by those reason in later decisions and that means occasionally the railroad doesn't win, or the republicans have to vote liberal, or the liberals have to vote with the republicans or law loses all legitimacy, and i think what is wrong with burn v. gorees that most wrongs that the court said, forget what our reasoning is, we don't care. you can never use this again. this is just we want to decide it. >> guest: if i can stop you there. i think you've pin pointed a lot of important points itch don't want to overstate my view that everything that the supreme court does is just purely political. remember, that about half of their decisions every year are unanimous, two-thirds are close
to unanimous, there is lot of what they do is just being a legal technician, and you are right, too, that the obligation to write down the ropes for -- the reasons for what they do does suggest that they have to maintain at least some ideological and intellectual integrity in what they do, and you are right further that bush v. gore is such a disastrous example of the supreme court in action, in part because the conservatives who were in the majority, betrayed their usual principle, equal protection should be narrowly construed. states should be allowed to maintain their own procedures for running elections. and most notoriously of all it has that sentence which says: this case is not a precedent for further citation, which, again,
undermines the idea that the justices are acting in a consistent way, but if i can just go back to where i started from, the famous robert jackson quote, they are not final because they are infallible, they're infallible because they are final, that ways the last word, and that what we got, but they're certainly not immune for criticism for it. i've given. the plenty. >> host: who would be your mt. rushmore of supreme court justices? two conservatives, two liberals? >> guest: okay. certainly i would put robert jackson among the conservatives. robert jackson is -- the period he was on the court, the '40s and '50s it was not as politically polear rises as today but he was on the conservative side. robert jackson was the best writer ever to appear -- ever to
serve on the supreme court and if one wants to see a great piece of american writing that should look up his opinion in barnett vs. west virginia school board which is about whether children should be required to salute the flag. it's a brilliant piece of writing. he is one conservative. another conservative, i think, john marshal harland, the younger, who served on the court in the 1950s, and eisenhower appointee, an old-fashioned kind of east coast moderate republican. another conservative who i admire a great deal. in terms of the liberals, leaving off the justices who are on the court now, you have to pick william brennan because he was the architect of so many of the liberal decisions of the '60s, and the other is earl warren because even though he was not a great legal scholar,
he was someone who had tremendous political sense and understood that in the middle of the cold war, when we were trying to create an alternative model to the soviet union, we could not have segregation in this country anymore. so, whether it was brown v. board of education, which he wrote, or all the subsequent integration cases, i think warren's political sense as much as his legal, made him an epic figure. >> host: this is from tom hines in las vegas saying. under the constitution, could the senate refuse to consent any supreme court nominee by a potential eight years of president hillary clinton? >> guest: absolutely. absolutely. the constitution does not impose any sort of time limit on the requirement -- the only thing the constitution says is that
the power to appoint is with the president, with the advice and consent of the senate. but it does not set a time limit. it does not say that the senate has to consent. they can keep voting down her opponents, they cannot hold hearings. this is, again, one of the many areas where law leads -- yields to politics, and the only remedy for this sort of recalcitrance on the part of senators comes on election day where voters can say, if you're not going to consider supreme court appointments i'll vote you out of office but that's the only remedy. president obama or if there is a president clinton, can't go to court and force the senate act. this is a political act which while be revolved by political means. >> host: bruce in delware. our next caller. >> caller: yes. i have a couple of questions
about presidential pardons. the constitution gives the president virtually unlimited power to grant pardons except in the case of impeachment, impeachment cases. now, there have been some peremptory pardons, probably the most famous, of course, is ford's pardoning of nixon. before he had actually been indicted or committed any crime, and then we have another example of a group pardon of the draft dodgers by carter. >> guest: correct. >> caller: two questions. what prevents the president from pardoning a illegal illenned if he wants to pardon one, pardon five million? one would seem to think he would have the authority to do this according to the constitution. >> guest: i think you're probably right, although i'd have to think that through. he could certainly pardon them
from any criminal prosecution. i'm not sure he could pardon them from deportation. i'm not sure if the pardon power extends to the power -- his control over immigration. one of the issues in the supreme court case that -- where the court deadlocked 44 at the end of the last term was the president saying, i can set my enforcement priorities. i don't -- it's quite clear, i think everyone acknowledges, that the federal governments doesn't have the resources to deport all 11 million people who are in this country illegally. so the president is saying, i can establish priorities that give some people the security that i will not deport them. that position was not vindicated in the fifth circuit, and the
supreme court divided 4-4, so the fifth circuit is the law at least of that circuit. could the president pathway all -- pardon all five million? he could certainly pardon as many as he wants of actual crime. i am less certain whether he could pardon -- the pardon power extended to the issue of deportation. just so we're clear, the one is suggesting he is going to do that but it's an interesting question of whether he could or no. >> host: we have been going three hours. >> guest: i'm ready, man. >> host: let me go back to the point of "american heiress." despite all the discontent, the civil rights movement, the assassinations of robert f. kent and martin luther king and president kennedy, you make the point that the sixs were the sense of the possibility that blacks and whites could live in harmony, all of that dashed in the 1970s in part because of vietnam and the resignation of richard nixon.
>> guest: one of the real revelations to me in working on "american heiress." the distinction between the sixss and '0ss -- the '60s and ''70s -- i thought the '60s was a time of tumult and things child out in the '70s. it's true there was terrible tumult in the '60s, assassinations, rites after king king can go's assassination. the watt riots. detroit. the l.a. riots. the wattsright in 1965. but it is true, few, in the '60s there was a tremendous sense that the reason people were so agitated is that they expected better of america, and they wanted and believed america could be a better place. what happened in the '70s was this real souring, that you had
the summer of love in 1967 in san francisco. you had the free speech movement in 1965 in berkeley, both of which were characterized bay significant degree of idealism. by the '70s it had all curdled, and when richard nixon ended the draft, in the early '70s, that really took out a large part of the middle class kids from the counterculture and protest. they sort of realized they were no longer at risk and went about their lives. and the people who remained were the really hard core, and they were angry and they were violent, and i keep coming back to this statistic that to me is just so astonishes which is in the early and mid-1970s there were a thousand political bombings a year in the united states. try to imagine what it would be like to live in a country with a
thousand bombings a year, with our current media culture. this was an angry, depressed place. the economy was in lousy shape. you had the energy crisis. you had watergate destroying faith in political institutions. it was just a dark time, and that -- the hearst kidnapping was both a reflection and a symptom of just how bad things were in america. >> host: one quick question about the hearst family. do you have a sense what they were worth at its peak and today? >> guest: what is interesting is that william randolph hearst, the patriarch who died before patricia was born, knew that his four sons were basically drunken ne'er-do-wells, and he did not want his sons to control the business, so he set up a trust that -- so that outsiders would
always control nine of the 13 seats on the hearst trust. so, the hearst family have a lot -- they had a lot of access -- they had interests in these trusts but they didn't have a lot of access to cash or control of the trust, and in fact, randy hearst had to come up with $2 million and it was very difficult for him. even though he had access to -- he theoretically had access to more than that, but he didn't really. now, in terms of today, there's one key fact about the hearst corporation. it's still privately held so we never know exactly how much money the hearsts have but in the late 1970s the professional manager's the hearst corporation made a decision to invest in 20% of something called the entertainment ask sports programming network.
the initials? >> host: espn. >> guest: the hearst corporation still owns 20% of espn and that has been an incredible cash cow. so even though the hearsts are still sort of a newspaper company and sort of a magazine company, both of the businesses that have not thrived in recent decades, the fact that they own a big piece of espn has meant that the company is skill flourishing. >> host: from tennessee, dennis is next. go ahead, please. >> caller: hi. i'm a big admirer, sir, and it's an honor to talk to you. >> guest: thank you. >> caller: three quick questions and then i'll hang up and listen. is secretary clinton is elected do you think she would submit merrick garland as the nominee, pick someone else do. >> host: one at a time. >> guest: that's a really interesting question and the short answer is i, i don't know.
let me tell you about the political calculations i think are involved. let's assume, as i think correctly, that the garland nomination will expire at the end -- without action from the senate come january 20th of next year. hillary clinton can say to mitch mcconnell, you have a choice. you can give me a quick vote on merrick garland and get this 63-year-old moderate confirmed or i will nominate a 45-year-old liberal and we can fight that one out. now, hillary clinton will face a lot of pressure from her more liberal supporters not to nominate garland, but she has a problem, took because if she nominates a real liberal, the first six months of her tenure are swept up in this one issue, and she can't get immigration through -- reform through the senate, can't get infrastructure
spending so she will have an interest of getting getting gett vacancy off the table. so i think there's a reasonably good possibility she will re-nominate merrick garland if the hoe hopes and expectations and perhaps an actual deal with the senate that the republicans will figure that's lake this 63-year-old moderate as opposed to someone who might serve longer. >> host: dennis, your followup question? are you still there? >> caller: yes. >> host: go ahead. >> caller:
okay. do you believe in term limits for our supreme court justices? >> guest: absolutely. i think it would be a big imfront. term limits and/or mandatory retirement, and i say that with full confidence that it will absolutely never happen. because of amending the constitution is very difficult, and there's just no constituency for it but i think the situation
is out of whack. we don't believe in 30-year tenures for presidents. we shouldn't have it for supreme court justices. it places the age of the justices so much in -- as factor. steven breyer gets asked the question and he said something interesting which i also agray with. says i don't have a problem with term limit odd are mandatory retirement but you have to set up a sim where being a supreme court justice is your last job. you've adopt won't justices angling for something
else and that's a good point. think term limits are good idea. it ain't going to happen. >> host: we welcome our listeners on c-span radio, again, follow us on twitter@book tv. "in depth" with a authors, this month, jeffrey toobin who has written seven books and counting. tweets having fun with the mt. rushmore question. this from a viewer in philadelphia. would you include john marshal?
>> guest: i certainly would. i guess i didn't include him because, a., i forgot, and, b., i don't know if he -- you asked me for two liberals and two conservatives itch dope know where you count john marshall in that pantheon? a liberal or conservative? the world was so different in the early '19th century. the man who created judicial review in marbury vs. madison who helped define the powers of the federal government in mccull lock v. maryland, it's hard to place him in our current political divisions. >> host: we have a call fromsen san francisco, you're next. >> caller: hi, jeffrey, thank you for all your good work which i enjoy. the one time i was unhappy was your article about one of my favorite people, martha stewart when i thought you were kind of harsh. there is anything you can say now to make me less unhappy?
>> guest: well, look. >> host: what did you say? >> guest: i said she was guilty as hell of lying about her insider trading situation. the crazy thing about martha stewart's whole scenario was that if from day one she had simply said, you know, i made a mistake, i was thinking about a lot of different things, sold my stock after hearing this news from my friend, this whole saga would have been just a minor footnote. martha stewart is an extraordinarily entrepreneur. she crated this -- not just a business but an industry, and she is just an enormously talented and forceful person. unfortunately, that forceful personality led her to deny the
completely obvious fact she engaged in insider trading and she wound up getting in so much more trouble than she should have. if she just said, yeah issue did it, let me pay a fine, none of us would even remember it here today but frankly, out of arrogance, she stuck with this ridiculous story, and wound up in worst trouble. that doesn't diminish the fact that martha stewart is an enormous force of nature and one of the great entrepreneurs of the era. >> you graduate prod hillary virginia law enforcement al been at new rock -- >> guest: never an intern. >> host: you checked for u.s. court of appeals judge. >> guest: i did. j. edward almost bard, an eisenhower appointee. >> host: you worked for independent council lawrence walsh. you started out at staff writer for the "the new yorker," worked at abc, and now at cnn. >> guest: you left out a very important part. i was an assistant u.s. attorney in brooklyn, which was a very happy and proud part of my career.
>> host: which taught you what about the law? >> guest: oh, so much. it's just wall about home and how they react, and that you can read all the appellate decisions you want, but until you look jurors in the eye and try to persuade them that something happened or didn't happen, you don't really understand how the law works. and what i love about being a trial lawyer -- and i had 11 trials in three years which i felt so lucky to have -- that you got to speak in english. they don't want to hear moreovers and wherevers. you have to speak to jurors in normal english. >> host: to them north at them. >> guest: to them and not at them and not -- and it's just a great education in real life,
and also just -- i really appreciated the spectacle of what goes on in an american courtroom. this is why i think i was really much more destined for journalism than for law because what i really liked about being an assistant u.s. tomorrow was something a lot of my colleagues liked to avoid which was arraignment duty. arraignment duty was when you got people when the were first arrested and learned who they were, and where they came from, and what their backgrounds were when they -- trying to get out on bail so they would tell you their story. it was just so amazing. the people who would swallow condoms full of cocaine or heroin and try to smuggle it into kennedy airport, which is part of our jurisdiction. the people who got arrested for food stamp fraud. the people -- the frauds in various communities. ponzi schemes. i just loved the spectacle of it all.
so many hoff my colleagues were like i'm going to do justice and i want to get the bad guys, and i wanted to get the bad guys, finishing but i like the skeen. >> host: you sound lie perry mason. >> guest: i wasn't someone who was like -- like wanted to win -- obviously i wanted to win but perry mason was all about, like, the last second victory in a courtroom and i was like, check this out. this is crazy. love this. and that is a different attitude than a lot of other prosecutors. >> host: ivan from texas, go ahead, please. >> caller: calling about -- i love america, man. this is -- one flag country and i see other flags flying in america, and it's not right, and i'm border but saw the people coming in but make them legal and pay their taxes and stuff, because they're taking from our healthcare, they're sending money back through walmart to
mexico, and it makes our dollar weeker and it's okay as long as you're a legal american and speak american, this is one country and god bless all of us. we have to stand up. we lost ore morels and when a policeman arrests you, you supposed to stand there, not run off and fight the man. that's what we have so many problems, and one guy -- in irving, texas, spins a clock to -- they thought it was a bomb. now they're going to try to serve irving. irving can't afford to be sued. they can barely understood the police department. >> host: ivan can thank you for the call you. can hear the issues of the campaign. >> guest: absolutely. and i think we are going to spend a long time in this country thinking about how donald trump became a major party nominee. remember, it is worth noting that the only president elected in modern american history who was not an elected official was
dwight eisenhower who did a little thing called run world war ii in europe. he somewhats not a public official but he sure was a public servant. how we got to someone like donald trump with no record at all of public service, to be a major party nominee, is a really interesting, complex story i don't pretend to understand but i think this caller's unhappiness about immigration, not just as immigration per se as a problem in and of itself but as a symbol, metaphor for disorder in the whole country, and for the law of what america used to be. i don't think you can understate the importance of donald trump's slogan. make america great again. like to go back to a time, never specified exactly when america was better than it is now. a different, calmer, more orderly place.
that's a real concern of a lot of people, and i don't think it's enough people to get him elected president but it's a lot of people, and their concerns have to be heard, too. >> host: final question. why do you enjoy writing. >> guest: oh, why die -- i like telling stories. i like telling -- i like -- i recognize that people have a lot on their plates in their lives. they're distracted. they've got their phones, and if i can tell them a story that gets them to sit down and read for an hour, for several nights in a row, and say, this is unbelievable, this is amazing, the way i do when i'm a reader. when i write what i want to read. and i love to read. and i love a good story. especially a nonfiction story. and i view it as a challenge but also a tremendous privilege to
be paid to tell great stories that are also true. i don't have the imagination to make them up. but i'm pretty got at finding the things that actually did happen. >> host: your first book in 1992, opening arguments, young lawyers first taste, u.s. v. oliver north and then the run of his life, the people v. o.j. simpson in 1996. a vast conspiracy, the real story of the sex scandal that nearly brought down the president. came out in october of 2000. too close to call, 36 day battle to decide the 2000 election which came out in 2001. the nine, inside the secret world honor supreme court from 2007, the oath, the obama white house, and the supreme court, from 2012, and your latest book, american heiress, he wild saga of the kidnapping, crimes and trials of patty hereto. jeffrey toobin few for pending three hours on c-span. >> guest: what a treat.